In basketball, shooting an air ball is humiliating. You try to make a basket, and your helpless shot fails to even touch the rim or the backboard.
Shooting an air ball as the road team in college basketball game is especially humiliating, as the home crowd will mockingly chant about the fact that you just shot an airball.
But a team shooting three air balls in the first six minutes as the road team? My goodness, that is truly an entirely new level of humiliation. And that is exactly what Wisconsin did on Sunday against Maryland men's basketball.
The air balls began with Ethan Happ. He's the focus of Wisconsin's offense, leading the team with 17.4 points per game. While Happ is a very fine scorer inside the arc, he really should never shoot a three. After taking a grand total of zero threes his first two seasons as a Badger, Happ took eight threes entering the Maryland game. He made exactly one of them. Making only 12.5 percent of his threes did not discourage Happ from trying another one. It did not work.
The next airball came from Brad Davison. The freshman has had the tall task of replacing Bronson Koenig as the point guard for the Badgers. In Big Ten play, he has a worse two-point percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage compared to Koenig. This is not exactly a surprise when you replace a senior who started a national championship game with a freshman. That being said, Davison is now 18-for-49 on twos, it's hard to imagine any of his 31 misses were as bad as this one.
To round out Wisconsin's opening six minutes from hell, the third airball came from a local kid: Charlie Thomas. Thomas went to River Hill High School in Clarksville, Maryland. River Hill is about a 35-minute drive from College Park and Thomas most likely had friends and family in attendance to see him take on the Terps. Playing in his home state, Thomas air balled this shot and finished with one rebound and zero points. Pretty rough homecoming.